If you think you’ve been priced out of the hot Peugeot 205 market, then think again…
by Richard Barnett
‘It’s well worth considering the convertibles and the Rallye models’
For sheer driving fun, where handling and grip are just as important as all-out speed and acceleration, 1980s hot hatchbacks knock other classics into a cocked hat. The combination of practicality and driver engagement means they are as popular today as they were when new, and their coming from an era just before serious amounts of electronics were ushered in, makes them reliable and potentially longterm keepers.
There’s one particular model that has appeared far more frequently at classic sales than any other 1980s/early-1990s hatchback, and that’s the Peugeot 205, which followed on from the now largely forgotten 104 and set a benchmark against which all other hatchbacks of the era would be judged.
While the GTi has been making headlines thanks to seriously strong money commanded by low-mileage and superbly restored examples, the 205s wide range means smallerengined three- and five-doors, along with convertibles and even diesels, all serve up a thoroughly enjoyable driving experience.
For those who feel they’re priced out of GTi ownership, there is hope, as recent prices have revealed. The last Brightwells Modern Classics sale offered a clutch of examples in 1.6 and 1.9 forms, the top price being £4070 for a reasonably good 1991 1.9. A 1989 1.9 drew £2530 while for someone after a winter project, a shabby 1989 1.6 was reasonably bought at £770.
Worth hunting out are Dimma-kitted models, the bodykit serving up some serious stance. Survivors are scarce but Historics obliged in June with a Dimma-equipped 1989 1.9 model that made £9240.
As summer is now a distant memory it’s well worth considering a convertible model, which was available in CTi form (with both 1.6 and 1.9 engines) and in milder, Junior form. All offer sensible accommodation levels and make a good Golf and Escort Cabriolet alternative while being slightly smaller. Reasonable and good examples needn’t cost a fortune, as Morris Leslie’s 1988 205CTi 1.6 (£1520) and ACA’s 1991 205CTi 1.6 (£2310) showed.
Much forgotten, yet offering a simpler take on creating a sporting 205, the Rallye model has developed a low-key cult status among
those who appreciate its less sophisticated air. Compared with the GTi, fewer models were sold and not many examples come to auction, yet CCA scored well with a 1993 model sold for a good-value £2530. But for those wanting something not as fast but even more useful, Charterhouse’s 1990 five-door automatic made a firstclass buy at £2100.
Topless CTi 1.6, right, (£2301, ACA), Rallye below (£2350, CCA).